I’m sure this is just one of many fairly lengthy screed/laments to come, but I thought I’d get mine out now.
I can’t believe it, but I actually feel very down about NaN dying.
First things first:
We told them so - we told them so - we told them so. Man, they must have heard it from just about everyone. There was much speculation that NaN couldn’t be selling too many Publisher licenses. I mean, really, just look around. There is no real-time 3D content anywhere. Why? It wasn’t a lack of tools. It was a lack of interest. What exactly can RT3D do for you that anything else that already exists doesn’t do, except eat up your resources? Not much. There is no killer use for RT3D (except, of course, games). I think that everyone in the Blender community grasped that, at least on a gut level. It must have been hard for those NaN employees and those in the know to defend the NaN business plan and put down the community’s concerns when in reality they probably knew at some level that NaN was dead wrong and the community was right. Well maybe not right, but at least less wrong than NaN.
Maybe NaN got the word months ago that the funding was at an end. Maybe Ton et al. came up with this last desperate measure just to stave off the dogs for a little while longer. If so, then we have the business plan to thank for a couple more months of development. If not, if they really thought that this was going to DO IT in a big way, then WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING? The community (mostly) tried to be polite about their skepticism, but the undercurrent was clear. No one had faith in what was obviously a bad plan. And lest anyone say that it was that lack of faith that contributed to NaN’s demise… oh, come on. NaN is dead because they were selling something that no one needed and, even worse, no one wanted.
You can sell something that no one needs, but no matter what you do, you can’t sell something that no one wants. In fact, in my years of dealing with advertising agencies and of being a general observer of the media :), my working philosophy of advertising has developed thusly: get the consumer to form an emotional attachment to your product, and you won’t have to sell to them. They’ll INVENT reasons to buy it. This is why so many effective advertising campaigns have so little to do with the product and so much to do with style/image/feeling. A company like IBM has its most successful campaign in years not by putting the hard numbers out there, but by producing clever, funny ads. This is IBM here, the holders of the Big Iron. And they’re not even selling on their merits.
And this is the shame of it. NaN already had a sizable core group who had formed that emotional attachment. It’s safe to say that the Blender community (myself included) loves Blender. They feel a genuine affection for it. They even said they would be willing to spend their hard-earned money for it! The feeling I got from reading NaN’s responses to the community’s concerns was this: “We’re professional business people now. We don’t have time for you… you… kids. You amateurs. You emotional people. Leave us alone.” Obviously, they have seen that they were wrong. They had proven that they could generate a small market. Instead of trying to scale that up, they went in an unproven direction. A shame.
Had NaN listened to the Blender community, I’m not sure that the result would have been any different. Blender has some great points, but I somehow doubt that it could have generated the revenue necessary to further its own development. The modelling engine is great. The interface is… different. There were some things that DID need work, though, and we all know what they are. Things that a professional app must have before anyone will take it seriously. Good documentation. Good import/export. A good renderer. It was headed that way, but it wasn’t there yet. And now it looks like it won’t be.
Which brings me to another point. What is the status of a license agreement with a soon-to-be nonexistent entity? In other words, for how long are Publisher licensees contrained to the terms of the license? In other other words, how long will it be before some says “F those stupid bastards, I’m posting my Publisher 2.25 so everyone can use it?”
I don’t know what the point of all of this is. I guess I’m pissed off at NaN for acting like a normal company, when I thought that they were something different. Maybe I should be pissed at myself for having such unrealistic expectations. Maybe that’s what I’m feeling. I’m angry at myself for once again thinking that the world was a better place than it really is. I hate when I do that.
Now, I’m off to mope.